City council raises concerns over Atlanta's 911 call center staffing

An Atlanta City Council member received numerous complaints about the city’s 911 communications office. Employees asked Liliana Bakhtiari to go to the office to take a look. She did and reported back to the Public Safety Committee of the council. 

The member asked Chief Rodney Bryant why staffing during the busy early evening hours is below the roster in the morning, which typically does not see as many calls.

FOX 5 has reported on cases of callers who have emergencies being unable to quickly get a response.

She told Bryant that on the afternoon she visited the schedule showed only five call takers available for the evening detail. 

"That sounds low," Bryant said. "I will look at that and see what we need to do to increase that" 

The emergency communications office has long been plagued by staffing problems. COVID-19 has made that challenge worse.

Councilman Dustin Hillis, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, also received complaints from workers. 

He has been told the public safety office recently did a training shortcut, by half, in order to rush trainees to computer consoles to handle calls.

The veteran call takers believe such a change would be risky due to the high stress inherent in the role.

Bryant told Hillis that should not be happening and promised a swift check on the complaint.